A Ratatouille Taste-imonial

Thank you Khalil Corazo for having a ratatouille moment when you tasted this simple craft chocolate bar from Christopher Fadriga.

Thank you Khalil Corazo for having a ratatouille moment when you tasted this simple craft chocolate bar from Christopher Fadriga.

To those who are new to this site, thank you for dropping by and reading through our cacao adventures. Chris Fadriga is Plantacion de Sikwate’s Chairman and National  President.

He has a plantation, nursery, and training camp at Brgy. Atipuluan, Bago City, Negros Occidental.

Here is Kahlil Carazo’s article entitled ”Are these the Best Craft Chocolate Bars in the Philippines?”

Thanks for reading and we hope to have shone some rays of sunshine your way!

PDS Training Center Visitor

Thank you for visiting us here at the PDS Training Center in Atipuluan Bago City, Sir Paul Sommer.

We would like to support your effort in teaching our ISF community in the highlands of Don Salvador Benedicto on How to grow Heirloom cacao sustainably.

Cherrels for Mi Amour

Planted in our PDS Training Center, Brgy. Atipuluan, Bago,City, Negros Occidental last February 2017. The prolific blooms then have resulted to prolific cherrels now.

Need I sing our song MY CHERREL (cherrie) AMOUR still? Planting continues with these happy hormones. Have a nice day!



by: Chris Fadriga

it’s not the quantity of flowers that matters. it’s the cherrels that will bloom after that. flowers from cacao trees, in this photo is a young age of 20 months, is a proof that a rare kind of cacao variety unknown to Filipinos can really thrive in our country.

I personally cared for these babies from seedlings to trees. At the end of the day, some flowers may fall but some will stay. With the right planting technology we follow, these blooms will grow and be one of the most coveted cacao varieties due to its floral scent.

(click here for the photos)


My CHERREL (cherrie) AMOR.

Soon you will hum the same song when your GOLDEN babies bear their first cherrels.

(watch here)

Food and Filipino Hospitality

When a Cacao Producer’s CEO meets the Cacao Authority’s CEO, #CacaoTalks do not stop at R.O.I.s — it goes beyond.

Destination: Philippines

After setting the date for the arrival, Don Alec went on his way.  He is our guest from the Dominican Republic in the Carribeans. Since the place was several miles from the Philippines, I had to Google to locate it.

According to them, “The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west. It’s known for its beaches, resorts and golfing. Its terrain comprises rainforest, savannah and highlands, including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain. Capital city Santo Domingo has Spanish landmarks like the Gothic Catedral Primada de America dating back 5 centuries in its Zona Colonial district.”

First time meetings prompt you to research a bit in order to have a conversation piece. Once I found out that the Dominican Republic is with Spanish heritage, then we are not that far away.

Our forever gourmand Ms. Cacao has endless takes when food is concerned. In Instagram, she is known as recipechick.

Ms. Cacao never missed a beat when she makes a review or even captures a home cooked meal moment. Upon learning that I was to meet with Don, she said that the Dominican Republics share the same love for food — their empanada or pastelitos.In the Philippines, there are numerous versions of the smaller-sized Empanadas; we call it Empanaditas. It comes with different fillings such as mango, durian, beef, torta or pork with potatoes, corned beef or Reuben, chorizo, and even chocolate.

Being able to taste similar foods that a foreign guest have in their country could be one of the conversations to break the ice.

Knowing how similar their food is to ours, I told Chris Fadriga, PDS President that we have to bring Don to places where the Philippine cuisine is known for.

First Stop: BOHOL

Chocolate Hills, Carmen, Bohol

Don’s flight from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport came as a breeze. We immediately waited until our guest arrived in Cebu for us to reach the town of Sagbayan.

It was PDS Bohol Chapter Vice President Cecilia de Leon who did the honors of saying WELCOME TO BOHOL!

We visited the Heirloom Cacao Farm of Indai Felipa Cortes who happened to be one of the newest CERTIFIED MEMBERS of Plantacion de Sikwate. Indai was the one who also introduced Don to us when he came across our OFW Repatriate from Kuwait article on May 21, 2018.

Filipino Aromatico SN-00088 & 89

Hidden in Bohol are two of the several Criollo trees we have tagged in our Search for the Criollo cacao variety.

Don was thrilled to the hilt that he took photos as proof that his travel to our country was worth the miles.For lunch, we brought our guest to KEW Hotel. Duke Miñoza, PDS Certified Member and owner of Buenaventurada Farms,  joined us.

I told our guest to try our shrimps, squid, and the famous Kare Kare; that even the late Anthony Bourdain said our food will soon be known all over the world. Don instantly fell in love with the Kare-Kare, bagoong (shrimp paste) and green mangoes.

Second Stop: BACOLOD

The following day we woke up real early to catch the Fast Cat Ferry for Bacolod. During lunch, we took Don to the outskirts for him to taste the local food. Still, his new found affinity for Kare Kare continued together with shrimps and calamari.

The afternoon’s sun was fierce but that did not hamper Don Alec’s purpose — to see if there is indeed an Heirloom Cacao growing in the Philippines.

The Dominican Republic has rainforests so the cacao will thrive there as well. The only advantage we have over other countries is that the Philippines is right smack in center of the equator making it the favorite residence of the Mexican cacao remnants from the Manila Acapulco Galleon Trade.

After the exhausting day, Don said that he wanted a longer stay in the Philippines. A couple of days was not enough to see our country. And as General McArthur once said, I SHALL RETURN.The experience we had with our guest is one for the books indeed. Simple, close to home, yet inclusive. I am happy that Don appreciated the Pinoy Tour and the chance to come close & personal with our Philippine Heirloom Cacaos.


All these happened because we aim TO HELP. TO LISTEN. TO INSPIRE.

From the Queen of the South to the City of Smiles

by Mel Santos

“Back to work!” said millions of workers today; but not for my PDS. We are a private-led cacao association with a Farmer-centric mindset. So a back-to-work day is not slowing us down.

In fact, I woke up Christopher Fadriga (PDS President, right side wearing a purple collared shirt) around 4AM with a plan in mind. “We’re going to Atipuluan with you.” We then agreed to complete the Pinoy Tour with Cacao Authority’s Don Alec.

Our destination: THE CITY OF SMILES.

Nestor Saludo (left side in a white cap), our PDS Cebu Chapter PRO, kept his jolly side up as we boarded the Fast Cat Ferry in Toledo Port, Cebu which is bound to Don Carlos Port in Bacolod. “I need to do a raindance’ he said. The mighty sun was up and with the looks of it, a sweltering day awaits. But as Ms. Cacao (Mia Concepcion, PDS Media Director) mentioned yesterday, “Rain or Shine, our passion moves forward.” (read here)

The last time I visited Chris’ plantation and nursery farm was last year. I took more time in Luzon and Mindanao while Chris took Visayas. When distance is a problem, you make ways to bridge the gap, right?

LDR or Long Distance Relationship (Ms. Cacao is laughing at the other end of the phone line as to why I know this Millennial term) is hard at first but when you keep the faith and have the communication lines always open, Batanes to Jolo is just a stone’s throw away.

Chris’ cacao plantation and nursery left me in awe. It was a humble nursery last time I saw it but now, it looks like every cacao farmer’s paradise. It may have the same amenities of a cacao farm – water, irrigation canals, wind breakers, intercrops, seedlings and trees. But why is Chris’ Farm such an impressive sight? Is there a secret formula (Humic Acid, Foliar, Feng Shui or the NO TRESPASSING sign) that makes his farm well kept, safe, and conducive to house the Heirloom Cacao National Training Camp?

Well, the Chris Fadriga Plantation and Cacao Nursery has Balrly Valenzuela. (left side in blue basketball jersey) Salamat gid, migo. (Thank you, my friend) for your determination, green thumb, and passion to care for the Filipino Aromatico. Keep up the good work and thank you for supporting us and our very busy President.

Team PDS (Chris, Nestor, and I) have finished lunch with our guest from the Carribeans, Don Alec so we are heading out to the field to explore. We have a lot to accomplish but what a difference a day makes?

The difference is that the PDS Team travels near or far TO HELP. TO LISTEN. TO INSPIRE.

Cherrels and Cacaos to Harvest

Heirloom cacaos have a distinguishable trait. Ms. Cacao calls them the baby bump but it is one of the many physical indications of a fine tasting cacao variety. you may call it a baby bottle nipple for its curved tip.

However, what is more important is the cut test to see white beans to lilac or light pink colored hues. The bean shape will also tell you its story.

Join us as a member and through our cacao adventure, we can plant 20 million trees. It is a challenge we send to all cacao planters. SAVE THE HEIRLOOM. SAVE THE LINEAGE. SAVE ORGANIC CHOCOLATES.


Grafted Vs. Ungrafted Cacao Seedlings

Hello PDS! It’s been a while since I posted here. I have been so busy with inquiries, sale of grafted seedlings and possible partnerships here and abroad.

As the Chief Executive Officer of PDS, allow me to remind and share with you the ADVANTAGES of grafted seedlings over ungrafted ones.

You see, the grafted seedlings are the ones we promote and sell.

They are coming from PDS NURSERIES all over the country such as CEBU, BOHOL, CAMARINES SUR, BICOL, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, BATANGAS and other PDS Regional Affiliated Farms.

Going back to my topic, why GRAFTED SEEDLINGS?

* 2-3 years field planting to harvest (ungrafted takes 7-10 years)
* Cacao variety is initially known and documented (ungrafted seedlings, after 10 years, the “promised” variety may not be the one you paid for)
* Starting a nursery is easier with grafted seedlings since the prices are at par with the variety you are selling
* Buyers of your cacao pods and dried and fermented beans are tagged as FILIPINO AROMATICO™ with farmer-friendly rates.

With the Filipino Aromatico™ we preserve the origins from our Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade and we uplift the lives of our Filipino Cacao Farmers.

Just remember that if you have an hectare of land, intercrop them with bananas or coconuts for shading at 3meters x 3meters then you are good.

Before field planting the grafted seedlings, you need to let us know if your soil is ready, void of weeds or other unpruned crops. Call me at (0916) 717 0207/(0920) 544 2039 or leave a message at www.facebook.com/PDSCACAO so we can talk and prepare your land for cacao.

Thank you!
Mel Santos

The Golden Leaf

imageCacao trees have a particular indication at seedling stage as to what pod color it will bear. They have a golden shade of green leaves. It is not from pests OR fungal deficiencies like the vascular-streak dieback (VSD).


Golden shade of leaves is not an indication if they are heirloom or not. However, the color of the new leaves indicates if it is a red pod or a green pod or an in between.

The white seed usually has a whitish and greenish colored cotyledon as the seeds germinate and is exposed to sun. The Forastero will have a purple cotyledon.

Like a white flag really, a light green flush of leaves indicate it to be a green pod but it is not a sure indicator of white beans. Except for these pictures of the Silay Highlands Filipino Aromatico™.

Here is Mr. Samuel Maja grafting heirloom cacao for the ISF community in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental. Through the help of PDS, we teach the LGU on ways to propagate the heirloom variety.

image image

*** Grafted Seedlings are from the Christopher Fadriga Plantation and Nursery in Atipuluan, Bago City, Negros Occidental. They can be purchased ready for planting. For details, do leave a message here or via the page’s inbox at www.facebook.com/PDSCACAO